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Skybury Tropical Plantation mareeba

Blog Post

How to explore the region’s food bowl

Tropical North QLD

TNQ Writer

Get a taste for adventure exploring the region’s food bowl on a drive around the Atherton Tablelands and Cassowary Coast.

Low food miles, paddock to plate and farm to fork – they are the buzz words of the food world and philosophies easily embraced in Tropical North Queensland where our food bowl is literally on our back doorstep.

A visit to Rusty’s Markets or any of the farmers’ markets throughout the region reveals an array of Instagram-worthy tropical fruits, leafy vegetables and herbs.

What is also exciting about our region’s food is that our farmers and chefs are increasingly turning local produce into table-ready products like smoked barramundi, cured meats, flavoured nuts and cheese.

A drive around the Atherton Tablelands and Cassowary Coast takes in several of the restaurant’s suppliers including Wondaree Macadamia Nuts and Shaylee Strawberries where you can pick your own strawberries.

Local suppliers


Australia’s largest exporter of Arabica coffee and the country’s biggest papaya grower, Skybury is doing takeaways and serving 10 diners at a time to experience not just a great coffee, but the clever use of the farm’s produce in its menu.

The Coffee Braised Beef Burger features expresso barbecue sauce on slow-braised local brisket with ginger papaya pickle, oven-dried Skybury tomatoes, caramelised onion and a side of green papaya slaw with crispy smashed potato.

Or try their signature dish, Chicken Korma with Green Papaya Salad cooked in a ripe papaya and korma curry paste and accompanied by Skybury green papaya salad, banana and coconut, pappadams, Skybury papaya relish and rice.


Mt Uncle Distillery is taking online orders for its Iridium Gold, which has just won The Upsider’s Best Rum in the World title, and spirits including gin, whisky and vodka. The distillery sources ingredients and fruits from the Mt Uncle farm and neighbouring farms on the Atherton Tablelands.


Gallo Dairyland is a must-visit when it reopens with cheese tastings and milking sessions all part of the experience. Until then their 16 flavours of cheese and handmade chocolates can be bought at various retailers.

Skybury Coffee

Gallo Dairyland Cheese platter

Mt Uncle Distillery

Mungalli Biodynamic Dairy


Mungalli Biodynamic is the region’s local milk producer with a café overlooking the World Heritage rainforest. Its milks, yoghurts, soft cheeses and cream are also available from local retailers until it reopens.


You can head to Charley’s Chocolate at Mission Beach to see how the farm’s cacao is transformed into chocolate when tours resume or call ahead for an appointment at the Broken Nose Vanilla farm gate shop in Mirriwinni for the heady scent of vanilla on its own or in the likes of caramelised balsamic vinegar.

What's open: Atherton Tablelands

It’s recommended to make a booking to dine in at a restaurant or café to ensure they can meet the COVID-19 workplace restrictions that limit the number of diners.


Start the day with great coffee at Coffee Works in Mareeba or Atherton. They also stock designer chocolates and luscious liqueurs.


Hike the Douglas and Smith Walking Tracks after stopping to get a packed lunch from the Speewah Country Tavern.


Call into Kuranda for a pita or lettuce pocket packed with authentic falafel, fresh salad and mouthwatering sauce, then enjoy live music outside the Kuranda Arts Cooperative and browse the galleries, gift and clothing shops.

Coffee Works, Mareeba

Falafellicious, Kuranda

Speewah Country Tavern beer garden


Spring Bean at Tolga is well known for its $10 Tradie Deal with a coffee and a jaffle, while macaroons and coffee are often the choice on weekends.


Check out Our Place in Yungaburra for their Soup of the Day or a meal using local beef vegetables or cured meats to take on a picnic.

What's Open: Cassowary Coast

It’s recommended to make a booking to dine in at a restaurant or café to ensure they can meet the COVID-19 workplace restrictions that limit the number of diners.


Call in at the Babinda Bakery for a pie and an iced latte before heading to the Babinda Boulders to walk the trail to the Devil’s Pool.


Grab an Aussie burger or a ‘parmy’ at the Mena Creek Hotel which is taking bookings for lunch and dinner on weekends as well as takeaways.


Cinnamon scrolls and cream buns are the morning tea favourites from the Mourilyan Bakery for a picnic and cassowary spotting at Etty Bay.

Mena Creek Hotel


With the temperature is dipping Sapore Di Italia in Innisfail is serving takeaway soup in addition to salads and Italian favourites.


Mission Beach Tavern is taking bookings for 10 diners at a time or you can get a takeaway if you want to picnic on the beach overlooking Dunk Island.

Tuck in

Explore more of the region’s foodie highlights.

Paddock to Plate article tile
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